Pregnancy doesn’t mean that you need to stop exercising. In fact – exercising can actually help you maintain optimal health and performance, reduce pregnancy symptoms & improve the overall health of you & your baby.
Being pregnant can however – mean that you need to modify some of your exercises to accommodate your change in posture & ensure the safety of you & your baby.
Below are wonderful reasons to keep exercising as well as tips & tricks to keep in mind when exercising during pregnancy.
Why Exercise During Pregnancy…
Exercising during pregnancy is important for:
- Preventing or easing back pain & other discomforts
- Helping you sleep better
- Preventing excess weight gain
- Increasing stamina & muscle strength
- Reducing the risk of gestational diabetes & pregnancy-related high blood pressure
- Lessening the symptoms of postpartum depression
- Increasing energy
- Extra muscle & stamina can help ease & speed your labour
- Speed your recovery after delivery
- Better fitness will help you keep up with the demands of a baby once he/she is here!
Reminders for Exercising While Pregnant…
As your baby grows, so does your stomach & so does your weight on the scale. Remember when you exercise now it is the equivalent of wearing a weight vest before you were pregnant– which of course will make the exercises more difficult & put more stress on your system.
Remember that muscles, tendons & ligaments shift in integrity due to hormone & chemical fluctuations so some exercises you used to perform may not be possible, comfortable or wise – especially in the third trimester.
Above all, remember to listen to your body. Warm up & cool down & remember to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. – This is important at all times but particularly when pregnant!
Walking is a great activity as it provides moderate aerobic conditioning & yet is not jarring on your joints. Swimming & cycling on a stationary bike is also a great way to provide your body with aerobic activity yet still keep it low impact.
Base your workouts…
If you were an avid exerciser before becoming pregnant – aim to keep your routine similar while decreasing complexity & intensity as you progress through your pregnancy.
If you did not exercise before getting pregnant but want to start because you are aware of the health benefits for you & your baby then begin slowly & keep it very simple. It is always best to consult with a professional who can guide you through the process that will benefit you most.
Check with your doctor to ensure that your activities are healthy & safe. As you continue through your pregnancy, modify exercises so you continue to get the benefits you are looking for but in a way that is safe & comfortable.
For instance up until half way through the pregnancy you my feel safe completing compound exercise (multi joint) like squats or lunges.
However, as you progress further you may alter your workouts to contain more isolation exercises like leg extensions or bicep curls.
Discontinue any activities that are painful or cause any excessive discomfort.
Around pregnancy you should pay particular attention to your heart rate. 220 minus your age gives you an approximation of your maximum heart rate.
For instance a thirty year old women’s maximum heart rate is 190 beats per minute.
You should not exceed this. In fact you would be wise to not exceed 75% of your maximum heart rate.
Studies show that if you train within 55-75% of your maximum heart rate your body finds it easier to remain in equilibrium (balance).
Therefore you will require less nutritional support or lifestyle changes to remain in optimal health.
So for a thirty-year-old-women that’s a low heart rate point of 104 & a high point of 142 beats per minute.
The CDC (center for disease control & prevention) recommends 150 minutes per week – that’s two hours thirty minutes.
Spread that out over five days making thirty minutes workouts. The exercises should be a selection of strength-based movements with low impact cardio as suggested earlier. Mix it up.
Just remember to keep an eye on your heart rate.
When Should You Stop Exercising…
Every pregnancy is unique. Even if it is your second or third child remember to talk to your doctor about your exercise routine & discontinue any exercises that he or she thinks are unhealthy for your condition.
Other warning signs that should cause you to stop & check with your doctor include:
- Heart disease such as pulmonary hypertension
- Lung disease such as severe asthma or chronic bronchitis
- Cervical insufficiency / Premature dilation
- Multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets or more) – multiple pregnancies are at higher risk for preterm labour so check with your doctor about any & all exercise routines.
- Vaginal bleeding
Again, discuss your particular symptoms with your doctor to see when & how it is safest for you to exercise.
To Your Best Health,
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